Posts tagged ‘angst’

Happy Due Date To Me

Today is little boy’s due date, and I’m so pleased to have refused to give that information out to the general public. Nonetheless, the midwives certainly know. I’m not particularly looking forward to this afternoon’s appointment, since they have been keen on my “not going post-dates” due to the giant baby syndrome.

After my last week’s appointment, the midwives and my acupuncturist (the latter based on an analysis of my pulse) figured the baby would be here pretty soon. But then I caught the cold of doom (like, #5 of this pregnancy?) and basically lay on the couch coughing for several days. I asked baby to stay in until I could breathe, eat and sleep again, and he has obliged. While I’m still snotty and coughing, my energy is just now returning, to the point where I think I could handle labour and birth.

I kind of wish we had never heard of the giant baby thing, because I’m pretty happy to keep lumbering along, knitting, marvelling at my spectacular stretch marks, and doing little jobs around the house until baby decides he’s ready to join us. And basically, that’s how I feel. For what intuition is worth, I feel like baby is fine too. He’s doing lots of dancing and wriggling in there.

My belly, looking all pretty after henna at my awesome Blessingway at 37 weeks.

My plan for today’s appointment is to accept another stretch and sweep (#3! Woohoo!), but not the “labour cocktail” they will offer. The latter is an unholy purging brew containing castor oil, cohosh, and other deliciousness. I’m not afraid of pooping for hours, but I am kind of afraid of what happens if it makes me really really ill (like it sometimes does, I believe) and then I start labour weakened and dehydrated. That sounds like a terrible plan.

But I do also want to note, at this special juncture, a bit of the mindfuck that is late pregnancy, especially when your caregivers want the baby out (which is not in any way unique to me. In fact my caregivers are so damn awesome and chill compared to the norm, I count my blessings all the time). On the one hand, babies come when they are ready. You should just chill out and let them arrive. But on the other hand, maybe your own fears and anxieties are keeping the baby in! I’m not looking forward to labour enough. I’m not doing enough squats, walking, sex, pelvic tilts, or yoga. When I think that there will be a baby here pretty soon, I still feel like “holy shit, really? are we ready?” instead of “come to us, baby, just as I envision you in daily meditations”.

I am, at least, eating enough pineapple. Nobody could accuse me of less.


Now that life is back to normal and I’m all done hyperventilating, here is the update to our 20-week ultrasound that showed a dialated renal pelvis (fancy medical term: pelvicaliectasis)

After the 20-week ultrasound, we were asked to return in three weeks for a second ultrasound to see if anything had changed. Last week, that ultrasound revealed that the renal pelvis continued to be abnormal.

As at the previous ultrasound, the technician wouldn’t give me any information. So, when he left the room to show the measurements to the doctor and get further instructions, I lept off the examination table and recorded a voice memo of all the measurements and notes that were left visible on the computer screen. For the first few days until they had written up my results and sent them to my midwives, who then delivered them to me by phone, that was all the information I had.

I plugged those measurements into Google and found a few medical journal articles and the like suggesting that this was fairly a mild case of pelvicaliectasis, which might resolve on its own after birth. It could also lead to kidney infections and other no-fun complications in affected newborns who might, at worst, need antibiotics and corrective surgery. Not great news, but not the worst either.

The most awesome medical journal article ever, covering this very topic, is entitled “Mild fetal renal pelvis dilatation: much ado about nothing?” The authors can’t stop making Shakespeare references:

To screen, or not to screen, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the nephron to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous infection,
Or to weight obstruction against a sea of refluxes,
And, by meds or surgery end them?
To flow, to reflux no more,
and by clinical trial to say we end the loin-ache
and thousand p-values that medicine is heir to,
‘tis evidence-based practice devoutly to be wish’d.

Extreme dorkiness aside, assuming that I understand it correctly and it is actually relevant in this case, the article suggests that relatively mild cases of prenatal renal pelvic dialation aren’t necessarily that big a deal. So we felt a little better.

But then!

The hospital’s very sympathetic Medical Genetics people called last Friday to explain that sometimes renal pelvis abnormalities are also markers for a genetic disorder, which can be life-limiting or maybe even “incompatible with life”.


On Monday, we were given the option to have an amniocentesis to find out for sure. Amnio is pretty high risk at this point in pregnancy, as it can cause premature labour, which would really, really suck at 23 weeks, as the fetus is just barely, maybe viable. But since the fetus’ risk of a genetic disorder was estimated to be much higher than the risk of an amnio, we decided to go with the test, and at least have our answer.

I didn't look, but believe the needle used for amniocentesis was about this size.

After the needle in the belly, I went on bed rest for 24 hours and restricted movement for another day to reduce the risk of early labour. (Due to cramps that have scared the crap out of me as recently as yesterday, I’m still walking like a really old person and avoiding exercise even more diligently than usual.)

The hospital ordered FISH results, which are an early response to the part of the amnio that tests for the most common genetic disorders, the same ones that babies with pelvicaliectasis are at elevated risk for. They called yesterday to say that the baby does NOT have one of those genetic disorders. ( \Thank you, hospital, because I would have lost my mind spending two weeks waiting for those results. We’ll get the complete results in another 10 days, but since there is no elevated risk for those other disorders, we are not worried.)

So, it’s “only” a kidney problem. Even if the kid ends up with malfunctioning kidneys, infections, and needs surgery as a newborn, he does not have a systemic, life-threatening or life-limiting genetic disorder.

In a month or so, we get to go see a pediatrician who will hopefully have some more information about post-natal prognosis and possible treatment options. But, as the geneticist told me over the phone, whatever it ends up being, it’s just plumbing. It can be fixed with medicine and surgery.

Perspective: hooray!

After a few days of serious anxiety and feeling like maybe we should stop hoping for, looking forward to, and bonding with this kid, we are now back to contentedly considering names, getting ready to build the crib, and buying postpartum cloth pads on the Internet. (OK, maybe that last one is just me.)

The Big Ultrasound (can bite me)

So, 20 weeks. Theoretically half way but I refuse to acknowledge that bullshit. You aren’t even pregnant for the first two weeks, so there’s no way they should count. I would further argue that the following two weeks shouldn’t count either because pretty much everyone spends them in blissful ignorance of conception. I myself recall drinking some beer in week 3 just case I turned out to be pregnant and didn’t get to have any more for a while.

Anyways, at 20 weeks, you get to have the big ultrasound. I slunk out of work early on Wednesday and when to the hospital, where Z and I were harassed by recruiters for medical studies until it was our turn. Then an untalkative technician scanned my belly for awhile pointing out various fetus parts… kidneys, creepy alien eye sockets, a foot, kidneys again, a spine… At one point she left to show something to a doctor, then came back in and kept scanning. And then told us we were all done.

Today the midwives called to say that the report from the hospital notes an appearance “suggestive of an anomaly of the urogenital tract” on one kidney. If I consent, they’d like to scan again in 3 weeks.

And that’s it. The midwife seemed a little surprised that no-one had mentioned anything to us at the hospital. And I’m a little surprised too. This information would be so much less scary if we had ANY IDEA what kind of “suggestion of an anomaly” it is, what it could potentially mean, how common it is, and how often it doesn’t indicate any problem at all.

Dr. Google, drunk as usual, tells me that some fetal kidney abnormalities seen on scans turn out to be fine, others require antibiotic treatment of the newborn, others indicate Down’s syndrome, while the complete absence of kidneys means the kid dies. For once, Dr. Google actually calmed me down because 1) I don’t think the fetus is completely missing kidneys, since the cryptic note from the hospital specified one weird kidney, not two; and 2) somewhere on the internet it says that, if weird kidneys indicate genetic problems like Down’s syndrome, other markers are usually visible as well. We just got one weird kidney.

The other stuff? Antibiotics? Surgery? Everything being fine? We can handle those outcomes.

But I am still definitely going to spend the next three weeks worrying about this until we have more information. And being kind of pissed off that nobody bothered explaining anything to either us or our midwife. They were probably all busy saving lives or something, but it’s still a drag.

Oh, and it’s a boy. It’s what everyone guessed, including me. Whenever I feel a passing twinge of regret that I don’t get to dress this kid in frilly dresses, I just think about shaggy little boy hair, overalls and little checkered shirts with pearlescent buttons.

Based on the genetics involved, the baby is expected to look pretty much like Raggedy Andy.

It’s neat to be able to refer to this kid with a gendered pronoun. Maybe we’ll even come up with a name one of these days.

Worried Mind

I stopped by the library on my way home from work to pick up a book called The Panic-Free Pregnancy.  I had high hopes it would help me chill out, answering some questions about what to eat and which supplements to take. Indeed, it does offer some reassuring words about medications and diet.

However, of course, I immediately dove into the chapter on miscarriage. This doctor says that in advance of six weeks of pregnancy you are more than likely to lose the pregnancy than to keep it. He recommends not even peeing on a stick until your period is at least 2 to 4 weeks late. That way you are theoretically spared even knowing about about your early miscarriages, since they are more common than healthy pregnancies, and can just consider them late periods.

Reallly? Miscarriages after a missed period are more common than healthy pregnancies? Why haven’t I heard this elsewhere? The “data” on miscarriage seems to vary wildly from one source to another, so I’m not convinced. Nonetheless, At 4w4d, I am the opposite of reassured.

I try not to invest too many dreams in this little embryo and to focus on other things, but the truth is I will be seriously bummed if this pregnancy is lost. Before tonight, I thought the chances of a successful pregnancy were at least in a woman’s favour at the time of a positive test, but now I’m not sure.

It’s probably best not to worry. It’s best to be a perma-mellow fertility goddess alternately reclining serenely and performing feats of strength, and accepting her babies and miscarriages when they come, but this mindset doesn’t come naturally to me. Whether it’s all in my worried head or whether I do have some legit symptoms like fatigue and abdominal weirdness, I feel a little… fragile, like any little bump might shake this orange-seed embryo right out of its nest.

Also contrary to other things I’ve read, Panic-Free Pregnancy advises to exercise merrily, and even to go ahead and start new regimens. Exercise helps relieve stress, and keeps you healthy. Therefore even though I don’t feel like it, and it’s cold and dark out, I’m going for a damn run.


As we are heading into our last cycle of not trying (and off on our honeymoon!) I am pleased to find myself far less angst-ridden about babies than a few years ago.

Back then, it seemed like our time would never come. All our friends were having babies, and we were dismayed that our kids would be too different in age to play together. But it’s turned out OK so far. I’ve gotten lots of wonderful babysitting experience and we have a little goddaughter who is the cutest thing ever and a dozen honourary nieces and nephews. One day our child can join this great community of people and have lots of older companions to beat him up get her in trouble look up to.

One thing (well, other than the ideas of morning sickness, labour and raising toddlers) that does give us a little bit of angst is our apartment. On the one hand, we’re such spoiled brats. If I gave up my office and got rid of my books, we could fit a kid quite nicely into our current place. But, on the other hand, if we could afford it, it would be nice to have one more room and, in a perfect world, access to the outdoors for a kiddo to play in the dirt.

When we get back from the honeymoon, we’ll start looking around seriously to see if we could find a slightly bigger and more kid-friendly place. We probably can’t afford a house, but one distant possibility is to find a little old house with a basement suite, and install some friends in there to help pay the mortgage. This morning we visited a married couple who also want kids, and are looking for a place to rent long-term. It’s just an idea at this point, but I miss communal living and absolutely love the idea of living in a house with multiple parents and kids in it. My childhood was pretty great, but I think it would have been amazing to have other kids around.

I confess that I’ve been so preoccupied with trying to conceive next month that I’ve completely neglected to research our honeymoon adventure. In 10 days, we’ll wandering around Asia with a guidebook and next to no clue about where we are or how to communicate. That should take our minds off things for awhile!


Holy shitballs. Angst angst. Need to get buried in school work, or something. Right now I am buried in a pile of weird music recording gigs which are keeping me plenty busy but not preoccupied enough.

I had a really hard time keeping my shit together today at a rehearsal with a pregnant friend. Blah blah, same old song and dance. Wept hysterically in a restaurant all through lunch. I’m so tired of feeling this way, and disturbed at my own capacity for darkness and self-absorption.

Next thing you know I am going to be staying up all night writing bad poetry and listening to Sarah McLaughlin.

Fast Away the Old Year Passes

Meditations on the close of 2009. Lengthy, wordy meditations.

Let go of what was bad about the past year.
– The frustrations of summer renovations with my mom, with attendant insecurities about her control over my finances/apartment/life and her scowling disapproval of my relationship.

– Angst and lack of sleep thanks to my procrastination and crappy time management.

– Anxiety about my job prospects after school.

– Actually, plain old anxiety. I had some terrible panic attacks this year, which left me almost unable to continue my job playing music, and affected my ability to attend class.

– Wistfulness, obsession, sadness over (voluntary) childlessness

– Missing friends who moved out of town in 2008.

– Z and I have not done as well as we could have about getting in shape. He is in worse shape than me and I have worried about his health every day.

Celebrate what was good about the past year.
– School has been overall pretty awesome, and I’m pulling in good grades.

– By the end of the year, I arrived at a general topic to narrow down for my final project, which means that the end of my masters is in sight!

– I have become friends with some really fantastic classmates

– The planning community has been completely awesome to me, and I made a few professional connections.

– Some really fantastic babies were born to my friends and family, and I got some great time with my little “nephew” I. The last few days of 2009 will be spent in my home prairie town getting to know my new second cousin. That will be the best way to end the year.

– My relationship with Z has continued to be my rock, my foundation. Whenever I am fraught about something, he helps me to sort it out. We care for each other in small ways on a daily basis which make life at home warm and wonderful.

Set a direction for the new year ahead.

– Doing a good, inspired but sensibly scoped job on my final project.

– Graduating! Ideally before September!

– Getting ready to tackle a beginners’ triathlon this summer, and coaxing, cajoling, pleading, inspiring and motivating Z to fulfill his own desire to do the same. This needs to involve a day-by-day commitment to make time, schedule workouts, communicate with Z.

– Getting a fricking job. Holy shit, becoming a two-income household in which I actually contribute to our living expenses in a meaningful way. Pulling this one off –in such a shitty economy right now for local government – is going to involve patience, dedication and flexibility. If I can find nothing but temporary work, which is totally possible, it might involve selling the apartment (Nonononono!) and moving around a bunch. Here’s hoping that’s not how it goes, but I hope I can pull off the serenity to handle that transition period and make sensible decisions. Also, if I get a total miracle job (local, permanent) then I need to be patient with whatever happens with Z’s work. I can be the gracious breadwinner if that’s what needs to happen in terms of him getting more training or whatever.

– Coming to terms with how I feel about marriage. If we want to get married before having kids, 2010 would be a great time. I still have all kinds of doubts and anxieties about the formal institution of marriage (perfectly expressed here) which are compounded with my dread of dealing with my mom’s disapproval and all the awful things she is going to say, and her dragging me to lawyers and making me feel like an idiot, and how old am I again? Yeah, marriage. I’m going to do some reading.

– Trying for a baby in 2011 is our goal, but in an amazing, perfect world, we could start next year this time. My employment situation is the critical deciding factor.